12th December 2017


Apprenticeship Levy: A guide to standards and assessments

Until recently, apprenticeship training was carried out under the SASE (Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England) framework system. However, in an effort to boost employer engagement and provide training that will better-complement an organisation’s workforce development needs, these are being replaced. 

One of the key findings of the 2012 Richard Review of apprenticeships in England was the need for significant improvements in making apprenticeship programmes more responsive to the needs of employers. As such, a new series of standards have been and are being created in conjunction with groups of employers that provide tailored training initiatives for various occupations within their sectors.


Current frameworks will stay in place until their standards equivalent comes into force and if you’re currently signed up to an SASE framework, the way funding is provided and the structure of the apprenticeship will remain as it is until it’s complete. The government aims to replace all existing frameworks with a suite of standards and currently we are in a transitional phase, where both frameworks and standards are running in conjunction. 

Our provision, apprenticeships and training in early years and teaching assistants is currently offered as frameworks. 

With the Apprenticeship Levy’s introduction in April, employers also no longer need to pay any National Insurance Contributions for apprentices they employ who are under the age of 25. 


apprenticeship standards for schools

In an effort to make apprenticeship training more valuable to employers and trainees alike, the way apprenticeships are assessed is also being overhauled. 

With the Levy’s introduction, it’ll be necessary for all standards to incorporate an ‘end-point assessment’. 

As opposed to the way frameworks are currently assessed, this assessment must be carried out by an independent, third-party organisation to ensure that every apprentice undergoing training is assessed in the same way. 

The Skills Funding Agency will be keeping a register of apprentice assessment organisations, which has been incorporated into the Digital Apprenticeship Service as of May 2017. For further information on how to go about using this, you can take a look at the government’s guidance here


The Apprenticeship Levy will also remove all barriers to eligibility, meaning that many more candidates can engage with apprenticeships regardless of their existing qualifications. In combination with the slew of new standards, this means that employers can procure training that better-serves their workforce development needs – whether that’s taking on new entry-level staff or investing in upskilling existing employees. 

Over to you

The changes to apprenticeships are significant and we’ve barely scratched the surface of the impact the new standards will have for employers. So if you’ve got any specific questions about the topics we’ve covered, or want to share your thoughts, be sure to get in touch via LinkedIn or Twitter

And if you’re looking for bespoke advice on how to properly engage with the Levy, be sure to get in touch with our expert team today or sign up to one of our webinars:  

Register for webinar